While conducting relief Francis Farquhar, the first commanding officer was killed in action at St Eloi on March 20, 1915, he was replaced by Lt Col H. Buller, another British regular who had served with him of the staff of the Governor General before the war.
On the night of March 19th/20th Colonel Farquhar was struck through the chest by a bullet while handing over command of the front to the relieving battalion. He was rushed back to the dressing-station in Voormezeele but the wound was fatal and he died three hours later. The following night he was buried under cover of darkness in the Regimental Cemetery outside Voormezeele that he himself had petitioned for. The surrounding fields were under constant fire but the ceremony was conducted in spite the high risk. Only forty of all ranks were given permission to attend and the higher ranking officers were ushered through the cemetery to pay their respects in small groups of two of three.
The loss of the Regiment’s beloved Colonel was a severe blow to the men. As the co-founder of the PPCLI, Lt Colonel Francis Farqhuar had been among the greatest of commanders who chose to lead his men in the field, inspiring them daily with his own courage, grace and good cheer in the face of constant hardship.